Mark Haselden remembered for faith, love of sports
FLORENCE, S.C. – Family and friends bid farewell to longtime Morning News journalist and assistant sports editor Mark Haselden on Saturday afternoon.
Haselden died Thursday after battling colon cancer. He was 50.
The Rev. Eric Haselden, Mark’s elder brother, and the Rev. Johnny McDaniel, pastor of Mark Haselden’s church, Greenwood Baptist, will always remember Mark’s faith in his lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
“Many things have gone through my mind this week,” Eric said as he began Haselden’s service at the Carolina Funeral Home near Scranton. “Many passages of scripture because I was one of the few people other than Mark and the people that worked in the middle of the night that would be up at midnight, 1 a.m., and 2 a.m. when Mark had a thought and would text it out.”
Mark’s thoughts ranged from thoughts on his beloved South Carolina Gamecocks and dislike for the Clemson Tigers to ridiculing liberal politics to scriptures that he liked or found inspirational.
“I went back into my phone,” Eric continued. “Of course, being a preacher and a pastor, I could think of a dozen things I could read and say but the last scripture that Mark sent me on Nov. 4 ,which was 13 days ago, was Psalms 118 beginning with verse 21.”
Psalms 118:21 reads, “I will praise Thee, for Thou hast heard me and art become my salvation.”
McDaniel remembered a sermon Mark delivered almost one year ago on Nov. 19, 2017.
“The title was Facing Adversity the Right Way,” McDaniel said. “I’m telling you—and you know this— if anybody was facing adversity the right way it was Mark Haselden. What he did was share with us that as believers in Christ that if we haven’t faced adversity that we will face adversity because the scriptures were very clear and Jesus was very honest when he said to us in this world you will have tribulations but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
Haselden’s sermon focused on six stories, three from the Old Testament and three from the New Testament of those facing adversity.
Haselden used the story of Moses to discuss how important patience was to overcoming adversity, the story of David and Goliath to understand how important faith was to overcoming adversity, the story of Job to illustrate the need to face adversity with perseverance, the story in Hebrews 34 to discuss facing adversity with joy, and the story of Steven to illustrate the need to face adversity by focusing on Jesus.
Others will remember Haselden’s love of sports, especially football, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Gamecocks.
“Honestly, I think my favorite memory of him is watching football with him,” said Mark’s wife, Allison. “We were avid football people; we watched the games every Sunday. I went with him to see the Dallas Cowboys play. It was always a huge part of our lives.”
The last game the Cowboys played before Haselden’s death was a 27-20 victory over the division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
Allison said she was a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and that added theirs was a house divided.
“He would always watch mine and I would watch his,” Allison said. “So, it worked out.”
She said it was fun when the Cowboys played the Steelers.
Allison said Haselden was such a fan he always believed the Cowboys were going to win regardless of record.
According to Sports Reference, the Cowboys and Steelers have played 29 times and the Cowboys hold a 16-13 edge in the series. The two teams last played on Nov. 30, 2016. Dallas won 35-30. The Cowboys and the Steelers have also played in three Super Bowls. In the most recent, Super Bowl XXX, the Cowboys defeated the Steelers, 27-17.
Eric and Mark Haselden’s cousin, Jeanette Miles, said that they used to play games with Haselden after days spent picking tobacco.
Another family friend, Larry Lane, added that Haselden would not play in those games unless he could play as the Gamecocks.
Miles said she encouraged Haselden to begin writing as a way of starting his career with the Morning News.